IFA President Eddie Downey has given a damming review of the draft of the Government's Competition and Consumer Protection Bill, saying that in its current guise it offers little protection to vulnerable farmers and suppliers, and requires significant strengthening in order to ease the abuse of primary producers by retailers.
Downey warned that "unless the Government moves to substantially strengthen the Bill, it will represent a waste of time and IFA will have no option but to withdraw our support for the legislation”.
He went on to criticise key issues between producers and retailers that the legislation will fail to amend. “The draft legislation as it stands will not stop the outrageous 5c/kg below cost selling that seriously destabilised the Irish vegetable sector last Christmas. Neither is there provision for an independent Ombudsman to investigate complaints and oversee the behaviour of retailers as regards the grocery trade”.
IFA has put forward a number of amendments they feel are required to make a real change between retails, suppliers and farmers, including the appointment of an independent Ombudsman, the disclosure of profits in the Irish market of large retail multiples and the prohibiting of below-cost selling.
Downey expressed the intent of the IFA to put pressure on Minister Coveney and Government TD's to make amends and address the real concerns of small suppliers and primary producers.